I am fascinated by Hay’s radical and non linear thinking about the body and movement. It resonates with my personal way of making visual art, an approach which seems entirely intuitive and directly mediated through my whole body. This is an Eastern way of making art. I am going to keep this blog as an informal (and non-linear!) collection of impressions and ideas. I think Hay’s ideas are an honest account of the creative process for many artists, though dance, requiring a completely tuned and toned body, may actually be a little different. Still, the visual artist, speaking personally, needs to practice every day. It is a manual skill as much as anything. Perhaps this will help me to
I love my body, it is my friend and supporter and talks and reports to me constantly. It tells me what it enjoys (exercise, the gym, cycling, dance, less so walking), what it wants to eat, and when it has had enough (overload at Venice Biennale last weekend). It is my life.
Deborah Hay’s body “practices a religion renowned for its sceptical stance toward religion. It performs as teacher, oracle and companion in the investigation, not of spirituality, but of consciousness itself”…Hay “explores the ramifications of multiple, distinctive metaphorical framings of physicality. Body, in turn, has offered a kind of dialogue – probing, assessing, reacting, and instigating – in response to Hay’s various queries. Close and consistent attentiveness to this dialogue forms the basis of Hay’s regimen for learning to dance..” Susan Leigh Foster in the foreword to “my body the buddhist” by DeborahHay, p. ix.
New Year ceremony in Edinburgh over 30 hours (including 6 hours sort of sleep). This was intensely active, involving a lot of expressive dancing and periods of personal communication with a few people in the group. It confirmed what I wrote above about dance and movement practice being a way of recognising my method and identity as a visual artist.
I am looking forward to continuing my dance journey in 2020. I shall be studying with Monica de Ioanni this winter and also going to the jam sessions in Edinburgh.
Katye Coe wordpress site a model of beautiful presentation and brilliant far ranging content about the contemporary dance world.
https://dianahand.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/deborah-hay-2.jpg350472westwood43https://dianahand.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/DianaSignature360MidGrey.jpgwestwood432019-12-07 19:55:242020-01-08 10:30:34Deborah Hay – ways of making art
Imaging the Human Body Ewing; Body Image Space Tufnell and Chrickmay;
Attending to Movement. Somatic Perspectives on Living in this World. edited by: Sarah Whatley, Natalie Garrett Brown, Kirsty Alexander. This edited collection draws on the conference, Attending to Movement: Somatic Perspectives on Living in this World, run at C-DaRE, the Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University.
The Axis Syllabus
Body Stories by Andrea Olsen “BodyStories is a book which engages the general reader as well as the serious student of anatomy. Its information is applicable to dancers, artists, athletes, bodyworkers, massage therapists, teachers, and individuals with injuries or with a special interest in learning about their body. .
Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts
Johannes the German physicist; Caroline Hofler from Austria (Biodanza); David and his partner from Stirling University
22nd November Leith Class with Monica in Leith
28th NovemberDance Base – Monica’s class Understanding more Lovely duet with guy
Gaga is a movement language and pedagogy developed by Batsheva Dance Company director and teacher Ohad Naharin. Used in some Israeli contemporary dance Gaga has two educational tracks which are taught in Israel as well as several other countries: Gaga/Dancers is intended for trained dancers and comprises the daily training of the Batsheva Dance Company; Gaga/People is designed for the general public and requires no dance training. Many dancers have stated that after taking Gaga classes, their passion for dance has been re-ignited; they have found new ways to connect to their inner beast without being self-conscious about how the movement looks while at the same time discovering how to listen to their bodies/self.
Gaga students improvise their movements based on somatic experience and imagery described by the teacher, which provides a framework that promotes unconventional movement. The imagery is intended to guide the performer’s movement expressivity by focusing attention on specific body regions. For example, “Luna”, “Lena”, “Biba”, “Tama” and many more words are used to experiment in a performers body while dancing. Mirrors are avoided in Gaga training to facilitate movement guided by sensing and imagining rather than sight. 
Gaga is the movement language developed by Ohad Naharin throughout many years. The language of Gaga originated from the belief in the healing, dynamic, ever-changing power of movement.
Gaga/people classes offer a creative framework for participants to connect to their bodies and imaginations, increase their physical awareness, improve their flexibility and stamina, and experience the pleasure of movement in a welcoming, accepting atmosphere.
Teachers guide the participants using a series of evocative instructions that build one on top of the other. Rather than copying a particular movement, each participant in the class actively explores these instructions, discovering how he or she can interpret the information and perform the task at hand.
6th December at Dance Base Residency sharing of Chen-Wei Lee on her project “The One Continues”
We would like to invite you to the residency sharing of Chen-Wei Lee on her project “The One Continues” It will take place at 4pm on Frida tomorrow in Studio 4 at Dance Base.
She invited two edinburgh based artist Julia Griffiths and Lucas Kao to explore the concept of I Ching, the book or change.
Description of the project:
“Change is constant, so is non-change, as change and non-change form an inseparable duality.” “Change is the basic way of existence. Existence itself is flow and tranformation.” – I CHING
“Change”, in I CHING chinese philosophy this is the core of the nature system, I’m captivated by this concept. I would like to explore the effectiveness of nature and it’s systems in relation with movement development and decrement. The ancient method of I CHING explains the laws of nature, circulation of life. I want to apply and explore these ideas within my research, in particular looking at how the body and it’s movement can be the translator for these theories.
Chen Wei Lee:
Chen-Wei Lee is a Belgium based Taiwanese artist who began her career as a dancer with Batsheva Dance Company and as guest dancer at Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Gothenborgs Operas Danskompani , and VOETVOLK/Lisbeth Gruwez.
As choreographer she creates pieces that tour internationally, and one of her work “Together Alone” was shown in Dance Base at Fringe in 2017.
This was a very moving piece with the three dancers moving in different ways and in different expressive relationships with one another
Movement Medicine is a dance practice, and an awareness practice. It invites us to dance deep into the experience of our own bodies. You need no prior experience, only a desire to dance and connect with your own wisdom and wildness. In movement we can learn to be inspired by the elements around us and within us, the Earth, the Water, the Air and Fire. Movement Medicine keeps bringing us back to the dancers that we are, and allows us to tap into the wisdom of our own bodies.
Each person is a dancer. Our bodies, even in stillness are dancing with life. The breath in and out of our lungs. The blood pumping round our bodies. Eating, sleeping, digesting… all of it is a dance with all of creation. And through Conscious Dance we can become more profoundly connected with Nature and with our own true nature.
4th Jan Jam in Jan
Somatics – book by Hanna about how to keep the body supple. It is a great read for anyone (everyone?) who thinks that age = stiffness and deterioration. Read it!!
18th January Jam a wonderful class with the Leith Group, I began to understand how to use weight and what it means.
Taught by Simona Pisano
How listening leads to joy
In this meeting we will work with some different ideas of touch and contact, exploring how these can lead us to movement in a playful way. We will explore sensations such as rooting, softness, expansion and connection.
In an organic way we will warm-up our body from the “inside out”. The use of the breath and a constant sharpening of our awareness are central points of the training. The perceptions with all the senses and the micro movements will help us to get in contact with the outside surrounding and the other participants. We will approach different places to create our dance.
Simona Pisano studied New Dance, Improvisation, Partnering and Choreography at the TIP Schule – Tanz, Improvisation und Performance – in Germany. After a musical education and a MSc in Engineering, she decided to follow her true passion for body and movement.
She is drawn to the deepness of working with bodies and energies, focusing on pure physical aspects (structure, mechanism, precision) as well on aspects related to perception (listening, feeling, connection). Her practice is very much related to Improvisation, but includes a wide range of other research and activities (e.g. CI, tango, Capoeira) that aim to refine and investigate different ways of creativity and body-awareness.
Edinburgh Jam 15th February 2020
Class taught by Tony Mills:
Tony Mills is a founder member of Edinburgh based Random Aspekts B Boy crew and hails from the Orkney Isles. Since giving up veterinary surgery whites for tights, he has worked with Freshmess Dance Company, State of Emergency, Off Kilter, Iron Oxide, Curious Seed, David Hughes Dance Productions, All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre, Russian physical theatre maestros, Derevo, and the international streetdance show, Blaze, which toured worldwide. His adventures into choreography have seen him assist Ian Spink for Scottish Ballet’s EIF production, Petruska, as well as commissions for arts organisations and professional and youth dance companies. He has also worked as a movement director/choreographer in theatre for company’s such as Terra incognita and commercially for high profile stars such as Martin Garrix and Kelly Rowland. Tony is a keen ambassador for the breakdance scene in Scotland and has been involved in the production and hosting of major dance events including Castle Rocks Breakdance Championships, the Edinburgh leg of the national Breakin’ Convention tours in 2007 – 17 and Breakin’ Rules at the Dundee Rep Theatre. Tony continually creates new work for Room 2 Manoeuvre, most recently the international co-production, Without A Hitch. Tony is a die hard coffee fan and has a lingering penchant for croissants.
“With regards to teaching contact dance, I like to focus on precision of technique so that the experience of dancing together can be as pleasant as possible. To achieve this, the class will comprise of a series of specific exercises based around limb and hip placement, balance & counter-balance, joint manipulation and ways of trying to move efficiently with our partner or in a group. The aim is to develop an awareness of our own body when in contact and a strong sense of what can be possible when dancing with our partner”
Edinburgh Jam 29th February
lass taught by Srik Narayanan
In this class we’ll find pathways into movement through our nervous systems, through the structural connections of our bodies, and across our surfaces, leading us on journeys through space and into the jam. We’ll explore how we can be curious as our paths intersect, opening spaces for choice-making in our dances.
Srik offers group and one-to-one work at the confluence of dance and somatic practices, relational body psychotherapy, and ecological awareness, through a therapeutic practice, teaching and facilitation, and occasionally performing. His approach to contact improvisation is influenced by studying with teachers such as Nancy Stark Smith and Daniel Lepkoff, as well the practice of Body-Mind Centering. More info: http://www.sriknarayanan.com
What we did
The three feet; base of skull, seat bones and feet, get them in balance; the circle of space around you; awareness of weight when walking and standing; bending forward on knees and stretching forward; rolling to and fro on floor.
What is Contact Improvisation?Contact Improvisation is a dance form originally referred to as a “art-sport” in which the point of contact with another dancer provides the starting point for a movement exploration. It is most frequently performed as a duet, but can be danced by more people. There can be music or it can happen in silence. It is about sharing weight, rolling, suspending, falling, passive and active, energy and awareness.
“Contact Improvisation is a dance form, originated by American choreographer Steve Paxton in 1972, based on the communication between two or more moving bodies that are in physical contact and their combined relationship to the physical laws that govern their motion—gravity, momentum, inertia.
The body, in order to open to these sensations, must learn to release excess muscular tension and abandon a certain quality of willfulness to experience the natural flow of movement. Practice includes rolling, falling, being upside down, following a physical point of contact, supporting and giving weight to a partner.
Contact improvisations are spontaneous physical dialogues that range from stillness to highly energetic exchanges. Alertness is developed in order to work in an energetic state of physical disorientation, trusting in one’s basic survival instincts. It is a free play with balance, self-correcting the wrong moves and reinforcing the right ones, bringing forth a physical/emotional truth about a shared moment of movement that leaves the participants informed, centered, and enlivened.”
(From Caught Falling by Nancy Stark Smith and David Koteen) The form has continued to evolve in various ways since it started 40 years ago but the basic principles remain the same.